These Christmas days are bright and beautiful! This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. As we gather with our own families during these days, let us pray for them and pray that all our families grow in holiness. Next Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, when we celebrate that the newborn Christ is the Savior of all Nations and Peoples! Keep your Christmas lights bright and your Christmas spirit joyful as we continue to celebrate the birth of Christ!
January 1 is the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Because it falls on a Monday, January 1 is not a holy day of obligation this year. Still, I hope that many will gather for Masses to honor Mary and to welcome the New Year 2024 on Monday, January 1, at 9:00am.
In his Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis wrote this prayer to the Blessed Mother. As we honor Mary on her feast, I offer the words of our Holy Father to you and ask you to invoke and honor our Blessed Mother as we enter into the New Year of Grace 2024.
Mary, Virgin and Mother,
you who, moved by the Holy Spirit,
welcomed the word of life in the depths of your humble faith:
as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One,
help us to say our own “yes”
to the urgent call, as pressing as ever,
to proclaim the good news of Jesus.
Filled with Christ’s presence,
you brought joy to John the Baptist,
making him exult in the womb of his mother.
Brimming over with joy,
you sang of the great things done by God.
Standing at the foot of the cross with unyielding faith,
you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection,
and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit
so that the evangelizing Church might be born.
Obtain for us now a new ardor born of the resurrection,
that we may bring to all the Gospel of life which triumphs over death.
Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,
that the gift of unfading beauty may reach every man and woman.
Virgin of listening and contemplation,
Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast,
pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are,
that she may never be closed in on herself
or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom.
Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.
Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
pray for us.